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26. Science + Poetry = Phases of the Moon

Here’s the next installment in my series of science poetry tied to science-themed picture books. My graduate student, Vanessa Flores (in my "Poetry for Children" class) selected the focus on “phases of the moon” from the series of professional resource books, "Picture Perfect Science Lessons" by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (and published by the National Science Teachers Association). Here are her three infographics centered around phases of the moon. The focus picture book pair is:
  • Next Time You See the Moon by Emily Morgan
  • Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle

The poetry book that works perfectly with this book pair is “The Moon” by Douglas Florian from his book, Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars. Below is a graphic featuring all these books, followed by the featured poem and Take 5 activities to accompany the poem along with a "bonus" poem, “Queen of the Night,” by Terry Webb Harshman from The Poetry of Science. Enjoy!

Science of poetry graphics created by Vanessa Flores

Image credit: dialoguealumninews.wordpress.com

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27. Science Friday meets Poetry Friday

[I'm pausing in my series for a moment to feature a new venture. But don't worry, there are lots more picture books + poetry + science coming!]

When Janet (Wong) and I attended the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) conference last fall, we strolled the booths and were pleased to discover an exhibit featuring Science Friday. SCIENCE Friday? We immediately thought that we should introduce them to POETRY Friday! 

Now, we're so pleased to report that Science Friday is featuring a poetry post this week in celebration of National Poetry Month-- and our work in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science is the focus. What a thrill! 

You may already be familiar with the amazing resources available at Science Friday, but I hate to say that I was not. I have certainly enjoyed them since! They bill themselves as "brain fun for curious people" and that is exactly right. Their by-line: "Covering the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies, Science Friday is the source for entertaining and educational stories about science, technology, and other cool stuff." They feature TONS of podcasts and boast 1.5 million listeners on public radio weekly. It all started as a radio show in 1991, but now they also produce awesome videos and original digital content and offer lots and lots of rich educational resources ready-to-go for classroom or family fun. 

Janet and I worked with the lovely Xochitl Garcia, Education Program Assistant, and Ariel Zych, Education Manager, to create the educational resources that are up right now here:

And be sure to subscribe to their excellent Science Friday newsletter too. 

Now for more focus on POETRY Friday, head on over to Writing the World for Kids where Laura is hosting our party!

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28. Science + Poetry = Birds and Beaks

Here’s the next installment in my series of science poetry tied to science-themed picture books. My graduate student, Chazley Dotson (in my "Poetry for Children" class) selected the focus on “birds and differing beaks” from the series of professional resource books, "Picture Perfect Science Lessons" by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (and published by the National Science Teachers Association). Here are her three infographics centered around birds and differing beaks.The focus picture book pair is:
  • Unbeatable Beaks by Stephen R. Swinburne
  • Beaks! by Sneed B. Collard III
The poetry book that works perfectly with this book pair is “Martín Pescador” by the late Francisco X. Alarcón from his book, Animals Poems of the Iguazú / Animalario del Iguazú. Below is a graphic featuring all these books, followed by the featured poem and Take 5 activities to accompany the poem along with a "bonus" poem, "Discovery / Descubrimiento" by Margarita Engle, from The Poetry of Science. Enjoy!

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Science of poetry graphics created by Chazley Dotson

Image credit: dialoguealumninews.wordpress.com

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29. Science + Poetry = Chemical Changes and PANCAKES!

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Here’s the next installment in my series of science poetry tied to science-themed picture books. My graduate student, Sarah Blan (in my "Poetry for Children" class) selected the focus on “designing and engineering cars” from the series of professional resource books, "Picture Perfect Science Lessons" by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (and published by the National Science Teachers Association). Here are her three infographics centered around chemical changes and cooking. The focus picture book is:
  • Pancake, Pancakes by Eric Carle
The poetry book that works perfectly with this book pair is the classic poem, often voted a favorite by children, “Mummy Slept Late and Daddy Fixed Breakfast” by John Ciardi from Hot Potato: Mealtime Rhymes compiled by Neal Philip. Below is a graphic featuring all these books, followed by the featured poem and Take 5 activities to accompany the poem along with a "bonus" poem,"Breakfast Alchemy" by Mary Quattlebaum, from The Poetry of Science. Enjoy!

Science of poetry graphics created by Sarah Blan

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Image credit: dialoguealumninews.wordpress.com

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30. Science + Poetry = Designing and Engineering Cars

Here’s the next installment in my series of science poetry tied to science-themed picture books. My graduate student, Jeannine Birkenfeld (in my "Poetry for Children" class) selected the focus on “designing and engineering cars” from the series of professional resource books, "Picture Perfect Science Lessons" by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (and published by the National Science Teachers Association). Here are her three infographics centered around designing and engineering cars. The focus picture book pair is:
  • If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
  • Inventing the Automobile by Erinn Banting
The poetry book that works perfectly with this book pair is Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian, and in particular, the poem “Giant Bookmobile of Tomorrow.” Below is a graphic featuring all these books, followed by the featured poem and Take 5 activities to accompany the poem along with a "bonus" poem, "The Engineer" by Stephanie Calmenson, from The Poetry of Science. Enjoy!

Science of poetry graphics created by Jeannine Birkenfeld.

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31. Science + Poetry = Symbiotic Relationships

Here’s the next installment in my series of science poetry tied to science-themed picture books. My graduate student, Maria A. (in my "Poetry for Children" class) selected the focus on “symbiotic relationships” from the series of professional resource books, "Picture Perfect Science Lessons" by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (and published by the National Science Teachers Association). Here are her three infographics centered around symbiotic relationships. The focus picture book pair is:
  • What’s Eating You? Parasites, the Inside Story by Nicola Davies  
  • Weird Friends: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey
The poetry book that works perfectly with this book pair is Animal Partners by Scotti Cohn, and in particular, the poem “Full Service Fish.” Below is a graphic featuring all these books, followed by the featured poem and Take 5 activities to accompany the poem along with a "bonus" poem, "A Dog’s Hypothesis: Zoey’s Guide to Getting More Goodies" by Susan Taylor Brown, from The Poetry of Science. Enjoy!

Science of poetry graphics created by Maria A.
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32. Science + poetry = The human heart

Here’s the next installment in my series of science poetry tied to science-themed picture books. My graduate student, Maria Alvarez-Vaquez (in my "Poetry for Children" class) selected the focus on “the human heart” from the series of professional resource books, "Picture Perfect Science Lessons" by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (and published by the National Science Teachers Association). Here are her three infographics centered around the human heart. The focus picture book pair is:
  • Hear Your Heart by Paul Showers 
  • The Busy Body Book: The Kid’s Guide to Fitness by Lizzy Rockwell
The poetry book that works perfectly with this book pair is The Blood Hungry Spleen by Allan Wolf, and in particular, the poem “You Can’t Beat Your Heart.” Below are the graphics featuring all these books, followed by the featured poem and Take 5 activities to accompany the poem along with a "bonus" poem, "Cancer" by Mary Lee Hahn, from The Poetry of Science. Enjoy!

Science of poetry graphics created by Maria Alvarez-Vazquez
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33. Science + Poetry = Life in the Pond

For the month of April (National Poetry Month), I'm featuring science poetry tied to science-themed picture books. My graduate students (in my "Poetry for Children" class) are each selecting a science-themed picture book (or pair of picture books) from the series of professional resource books, "Picture Perfect Science Lessons" by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (and published by the National Science Teachers Association). Here's the first example (created by me) and centered around the food web of the pond. The focus picture book pair is:

  • White Owl, Barn Owl by Nicola Davies 
  • Butternut Hollow Pond by Brian Heinz

The poetry book that works perfectly with this book pair is Song of the Water Boatman by Joyce Sidman. Plus Pond Circle by Betsy Franco is a great "bonus" selection to connect with this topic too. Below is a graphic featuring those books, followed by a featured poem from Song of the Water Boatman and Take 5 activities to accompany the poem along with a "bonus" poem, "Alligator with Fish" by Jane Yolen, from The Poetry of Science. Here's heaps of science + poetry fun. Enjoy!

Copyright Sylvia Vardell 2016

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34. The Science of Poetry Month

Every year for the last 10 years (!), I have had a different focus for my April posts for National Poetry Month. This year, I'm posting science-poetry connections. Once again, I will be showcasing the work of my wonderful graduate students enrolled in my "Poetry for Children" class at Texas Woman's University-- all of them teachers and librarians. 

We're all starting with the books of Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan, science experts who advocate for the use of children's literature in the teaching of science. Their work puts picture books at the center and they create lessons that teach science concepts through these stories (and nonfiction picture books).  There are three volumes in their popular series published by the National Science Teachers Association: 
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Ansberry, Karen and Morgan, Emily. 2010. Picture-Perfect Science Lessons, Expanded 2nd Edition: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, 3-6. Washington DC: National Science Teachers Association.

Ansberry, Karen and Morgan, Emily. 2007. More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, K-4. Washington DC: National Science Teachers Association.
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Morgan, Emily and Ansberry, Karen. 2013. Even More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, K-5. Washington DC: National Science Teachers Association.

My students each chose one of the books or book pairs highlighted in Ansberry and Moran's resource books (above) and then looked for a poem or poetry book to match with it, along with an additional selection from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science (edited by yours truly and Janet Wong). They created infographics to integrate the science topic, picture book, and poetry all together. I'll be featuring their work each day of April and I hope you'll find this a helpful resource for infusing poetry across the curriculum. Tomorrow, I'll post my own example to get us rolling. 

Teacher/Librarian Edition                          Student Edition
Meanwhile, I'm also excited to report that Janet and I have just published a "refreshed" edition of the Teacher/Librarian edition of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science with a new cover that makes it clear it is a companion to the student edition, The Poetry of Science-- along with page number designations for all the poems that match up the teacher edition and the student edition for easy cross-referencing. We hope you'll help us spread the word!

Happy Poetry Month, everyone. Now don't forget about Poetry Friday today hosted by the lovely Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at her Poem Farm

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35. BOOK LINKS and YPPL Jacqueline Woodson

The new issue of ALA's Book Links magazine features my interview with and article about the new Young People's Poet Laureate, Jacqueline Woodson. What a pleasure to "chat" with her and dig deep into her work through the lens of poetry! Here are a few nuggets from the piece. Once the whole article is available online, I'll add the link here too.

Jacqueline Woodson is the author of more than two dozen books for young readers, a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and she was recently chosen to deliver the 2017 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Her work includes groundbreaking picture books, novels, and poetry, including the recent National Book Award winner, Brown Girl Dreaming, her memoir in verse. When she was named Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in 2015, some people may have been surprised that she was singled out as a POET, but an examination of her work reveals a consistently lyrical use of language, an intentional employment of line breaks and white space, and powerful imagery and intense emotion throughout all her writing. Here, she answers questions about the place of poetry in her life and work and about her plans to “raise awareness” about poetry as the Laureate.

SV: Can you describe the role poetry played in your childhood? When and how did you first discover a love for reading or writing poetry, in particular?

JW: My earliest memory of poetry is Mother Goose of course - my sister reciting various rhymes and my favorite as a child being about the old woman who lived in a shoe. I think I related to the tight living quarters and the tired mom. But somewhere between Mother Goose as a very young child and Langston Hughes as a much older one, I had a disconnect from poetry. Somehow I felt outside of it. I remember hearing Nikki Giovanni’s poetry on an album someone must have owned and thinking “Who and WHAT is that?” but still not making the connection between what Nikki was doing and poetry. When I heard Langston Hughes’ poem “Dream Variations” back in the early 70s, it was a wrap - I got it! I just got it on so many levels  — levels that connected Hughes to Giovanni to Lorde to the Grimké sisters, to Eloise Greenfield — I was on my way.

SV: How would you say your poetry has evolved? What kinds of surprises have you discovered along the way?

Jacqueline Woodson (photo by Marty Umans)
JW: I’ve discovered that I’m not as afraid of poetry as I once was and I’m not afraid to put my work out there and call it poetry — without excuses. I think I struggled with Imposter Syndrome for a long time - thinking my work was poetic but not necessarily poetry. My writing has definitely gotten better over the years — I mean, I *have* been practicing!  I’ve discovered how vast the world of poetry is and how much of it I missed as a child. I find myself trying to read as much poetry as I can as slowly as I can as a way to study the poets who’ve come before me. Right now, I’m revisiting CITIZEN by Claudia Rankine.  It’s phenomenal.

SV: What else would you like to explore in creating poetry for young people?

JW: Everything! I want to do everything! I want to go where people haven’t gone before, create new ways of telling stories, open doors to the historically invisible and silent storytellers and poets in our country, put the voices of young people out into the world, visit places where kids think they’ve never met a ‘real’ writer and hold up a mirror for them.  It would be amazing to bring poetry to every state as YPPL. To walk into classrooms and get young people to believe they have a story, a poem, a voice.

SV:  What advice do you have for young people about writing poetry, in particular?

JW: Read poetry. Write poetry. #Noexcuse.

SV: As the current Young People’s Poet Laureate, what are your hopes for the future of poetry for young people?

JW: Oh man, I would SO love for young people to read lots and lots of poetry. I would love for them to see and recognize poetry everywhere in their lives, to talk about the poets they love and the ones they don’t, to write songs and spit lyrics and make chapbooks. I would love, love for Social Justice to be a HUGE part of what young people are writing and talking about one day. I’d love for poetry to cross lines so that poets can look up and see a whole lot of young folks in their audience and young people can look up and see more than parents and teachers coming to hear them write about changing the world.

And there is more Q & A in the article, but now we'll turn to teaching activities and strategies based on Woodson's work.

If you check out the “Poetry” link on Jacqueline Woodson’s website, you’ll see that she focuses on the many ways poetry is infused throughout her writing. She shares excerpts that help illustrate the ideas that poetry can be memoir, fiction, in the form of a picture book, sharing history, or building empathy. Let’s consider each of these areas and how we can build learning activities for young people.

1. Poetry As Memoir (Brown Girl Dreaming)
Jacqueline Woodson explores her own upbringing in her memoir in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming. In talking about why she wrote it in this particular format, she noted, “This is how memory comes to me -- In small moments with all of this white space around them. I didn't think this memoir could be told any other way. It felt like it would be untrue to the story to try to write a straight narrative out of lyrical memory.” You can share three excerpts from the book at her website (http://www.jacquelinewoodson.com/books-ive-written/poetry/) and talk with students about similar memories they may have of their own siblings, parents/caregivers, or classroom moments. Then students can work in pairs to create their own poem memoir moments, interviewing each other about a particular memory, taking notes for each other, and then each building a free verse or found poem based on those notes. To take it even further, guide students in noting Woodson’s use of italics to suggest dialogue in a poem. If time allows for further study, compare this memoir in verse with other works that offer a similar focus such as:

Ada, Alma Flor. Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba
Ada, Alma Flor. Where the Flame Trees Bloom
Nelson, Marilyn. How I Discovered Poetry
Lai, Thanhha. Inside Out and Back Again
McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. Under the Mesquite
Yeung, Russell Ching. Tofu Quilt
Yu, Chun. Little Green; Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution

2. Poetry As Fiction (Locomotion)
In her novel, Locomotion, the narrator Lonnie Collins (nicknamed "Locomotion") writes poetry to tell his story and to express his feelings about being apart from his younger sister and living in foster care after the death of their parents. Once again, Woodson uses italics within a poem to indicate when someone is speaking (besides the narrator) which can be very effective when reading aloud. Try readers’ theater performance, so that students can get a sense of character and voice. Select poems with two parts: plain text and italicized text for two or more volunteers or groups to read aloud in turn. Then talk about how that helps us understand the poem and the points of view better. The novel in verse form offers the generous white space, short lines, and conversational tone that young readers who are still developing their comprehension expertise find helpful. Here are more verse novels for kids in the intermediate grades (grades 4, 5, 6) with younger protagonists and problems and issues like Locomotion and the sequel, Peace, Locomotion:

Applegate, Katherine. The One and Only Ivan
Cheng, Andrea. Where the Steps Were
Creech, Sharon. Love That Dog
Engle, Margarita. The Wild Book
Frost, Helen. Hidden
Grimes, Nikki. Planet Middle School
Herrick, Steven. Naked Bunyip Dancing
Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. Reaching for Sun
Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. 42 Miles

3. Poetry As Picture Book (The Other Side)
In an interview in School Library Journal, Jacqueline Woodson noted, “My picture books are long poems really—I decide where the lines break and the flow of the story.” Read aloud and show the text of her picture book, The Other Side. After encouraging the students to respond to the story (and the friendship that transcends race), talk about how the words are arranged on the page, particularly in contrast with the usual format for text in picture books. Look at how the line breaks make the reader pause, adding weight to the thoughts expressed. Consider how they fit with the illustrations on the page. Show how it feels when you read the lines and sentences as if they were continuous narrative, then counter by pausing at the end of each line break as written. Examine some of Woodson’s other picture books to see how she arranges words, lines, phrases, and sentences in them: This is the Rope; Each Kindness; Pecan Pie Baby; Coming On Home Soon; We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past; Sweet, Sweet Memory, Our Gracie Aunt; Visiting Day; Show Way.

4. Poetry as History (Show Way)
Woodson traces her family’s roots in the beautiful picture book, Show Way, a Newbery honor book. After reading the book aloud, talk with students about the stories of each generation portrayed in the book, particularly the power of making quilts to show the path to freedom and literacy. Then focus on the story’s text and how each page and poem works together to “quilt” the story’s narrative. Woodson uses the free verse poem form with distinctive line breaks to make the reader pause and think about each scene, letting the “history” breathe a bit. This can serve as a springboard for students to interview a family member about his/her past, then take their notes and develop a free verse poem, and illustrate the scene in some way (with a drawing or old photograph, for example).

5. Poetry As Empathy (Each Kindness)
I imagine that all authors strive to reach readers’ minds as well as hearts, but I believe poets are particularly adept at moving us with their words—and with very few words, too. That’s one reason we often share a poem at a graduation, wedding, or other celebrations. Poems convey deep emotions that we struggle to express on our own and help us connect with one another in very personal ways. Read aloud Woodson’s picture book, Each Kindness, and talk with children about the story and its challenge to be kinder to one another. If possible, bring a large bowl filled with water and a small stone and reenact the teacher’s exercise with each person dropping the stone into the water while describing an act of kindness they have carried out. Then challenge students to find a poem or story excerpt that makes them feel deeply and invite them to share it with the group. Consider sharing poetry books by some of Woodson’s poet influences such as Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield, The Dream Keeper by Langston Hughes, Hip Hop Speaks to Children collected by Nikki Giovanni or Amazing Faces edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Lend a Hand by John Frank, This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort edited by Georgia Heard or What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings by Joyce Sidman.

The Book Links article matches each of these activities to appropriate Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and provides a complete bibliography too. FYI.


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36. Poetry and Guam

I have spent the last 10 days on the island of Guam and what an experience it has been! This opportunity arose when I attended the International Literacy Association conference in St. Louis last July and one of the members of the audience at my presentation stepped up to help us with our technology, introduced herself, and then afterward, invited me to come to Guam to speak! Thank you, Geri Charfauros!  And thank you, Evangeline Chaco (ILA/IRA chapter President) and Jennifer Berry (author visit coordinator) for ALL your work, time, arrangements, and hospitality!
The leaders of the ILA/IRA chapter of Guam
All told, I have made 22 presentations during this time and it's given me a new appreciation for all you authors and poets who speak in the schools on a regular basis. Whoa, it's exhausting-- and exhilarating! I spoke at the Guam ILA/IRA chapter meeting, led a workshop for teachers, held another workshop for teens at the public library and then spoke at 18 different schools (3 per day) including private (Catholic), public, and even a Montessori preschool. There were K-2 schools, K-5 schools, middle schools, and high schools on the docket. Plus the organizers had arranged for an escort (usually a retired teacher) to shepherd me around each day. (Thank YOU, Rose Castro, Ephraim Ramos, Jane Rayphand, Anne Doi, Sandy Liberty, and Cindy Pruski!) 

What did I find?
 An audience of eager students, kind and respectful, most of them already steeped in poetry! What a treat! They had created huge "welcome" signs and often posted their own poetry on the walls. They welcomed me with a lei (of shells, pods, seeds, flowers or even coral), provided refreshments, presented honorary certificates, and always gave me a lovely gift bag of treats from their schools or the island. As I said many times, I felt like a movie star! 

And their response to my presentations were always enthusiastic and heartfelt. I focused on poetry of course and encouraged them all to visit the 811 sections of their libraries (making all their school librarians very happy) and then led an hour-long performance of selected poems from our Poetry Friday anthologies: The Poetry Friday Anthology for K-5, for Middle School, for Science, and for Celebrations. SO FUN! PFA poets, I can tell you that you are a big hit in Guam! Students loved your poems so much and these in particular were favorites: 

"Underwear Scare" by Terry Webb Harshman-- I started by projecting a giant image of a pair of underwear and invited them all to join in the line, "You're in your underwear," using a giant sign with the words written on it! They loved "Selfie" by Lorie Ann Grover too and we took many selfie photos together, of course!

I HAD to share "St. Patrick's Day" by Esther Hershenhorn-- since it was THIS WEEK-- with everyone chiming in on the word GREEN and "World Water Day" by George Ella Lyon-- since that is NEXT WEEK-- with everyone chiming in on the word WATER when I lifted my water bottle. "Something I Did" and "The Do Kind" by Janet Wong were very powerful and helped students see how thoughtful and quiet a poem could be to get us thinking about how we treat people.

I got them up and moving with the wonderful, energetic poems:
"I Sit on My Bottom" by Michael Salinger and " Let's Go" by Merry Bradshaw and "Recess" by Avis Harley-- they LOVED pointing and jumping and leaning and moving! 

We performed FOOD poems as they said SPAGHETTI when I shared "Ready for Spaghetti" by Carrie Finison and "Waffles Waffles Waffles" by Alan Wolf.

They enjoyed pet poems with "All Worn Out" by Kristy Dempsey and science poems with "Testing My Magnet" by Julie Larios (they loved yelling YES or NO) as well as the fun alliteration of "What is a Foot" by Jane Yolen. 

The preschool kids also loved "Buttons" by Penny Parker Klostermann as we pointed to all the buttons on our clothes and "Baby Tooth" by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater as they showed me their gap-toothed smiles!

The teens were very engaged by "He Was So Little" by David L. Harrison (you could have heard a pin drop) and "The Fear Factor" by Sara Holbrook as they chanted the word "Okay" together as I read the rest of the poem-- as well as "Dracula" by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand where they performed the "Shhhh...." in the poem while I read the rest. 

They were blown away by "The Bully" by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (one student responded, "That's messed up!") and could totally relate to "Who Am I?" by Margarita Engle since we have an island full of Chamorro (native), Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and other islanders all mixed together here. "Future Hoopsters" by Avis Harley surprised them with its acrostic form and "How Romantic Can You Get" by George Ella Lyon made them all smile shyly while "Advice to Rapunzel" by Eileen Spinelli made them grin! And they loved the gross-out factor of "Eviscerate" by Michael Salinger. 

And we filled the room with sound in echo-reading "STOP! Let's Read" by Kristy Dempsey and "How to Love Your Little Corner of the World" by Eileen Spinelli. Plus, we SANG "Sack Lunch" by Charles Waters to the tune of "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat!"

My big finish was leading them in "Photo Op" by Linda Sue Park with the whole audience yelling "FLEAS" as I took their photo with my camera! SO FUN! It was particularly perfect since we nearly always took an organized photo of me and the group at each school, so they were used to getting their pictures taken a lot. Now all the kids all over Guam say "FLEAS" when they get their pictures taken instead of "CHEESE!" Thanks, Linda Sue!

I'm probably forgetting a few other gems, but in one hour, I could only share a handful of poems. And I wanted to show them how much variety of form, feeling, and content they could find in poetry-- something for everyone-- and I hope inspire them to try to write poetry too. It was so lovely to see their responses, hear their questions, get their hugs, and feel this connection through the spoken and written word. What a pleasure and an honor. It was so fun to get to work directly with children and young adults in this way and be reminded of how things are still unfolding for them-- how open they can be-- and how much WE can learn from THEM! 

And did I mention this is a beautiful place? I could post 50 gorgeous sunset photos! ;-)

Now head on over to Robyn's place, Life on the Deckle Edge, for more Poetry Friday goodness!

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37. Blog Tour: NORMAL NORMAN

Welcome to the first stop on the blog tour for Normal Norman (Sterling Children's Books @SterlingKids) by Tara Lazar (@taralazar) founder of PiBoIdMo, and illustrated by S.britt (@StephanBritt) and due to be published March 1. Join the crew blog by blog and on Twitter (#NormalNormanBlogTour). 

Normal Norman is a picture book with a retro look that adds humor and energy to this blend of science and nonsense. A young "junior scientist" in a white lab coat (a spunky girl-- yay!) who is also the book's narrator is on a quest to define "normal" In empirical ways. Her subject? A purple orangutan. So, we know this is going to be an interesting "experiment" from the get-go. And this orangutan (Norman) is not cooperating-- he speaks English, sleeps in a bed, and loves pizza! Each double-page spread is teeming with energy, details, and humor. Plus, it begs to be read aloud and should surely generate some interesting discussion about what is "normal"-- in the animal world, as well as in ours. 

>>> Link this book with a Orangutanka: A Story in Poems by Margarita Engle to offer a contrasting (and more reality-based) look at orangutans. And just for fun, Sterling Kids Publishing has provided fun, interactive activity pages to accompany this book (below). Enjoy!

Special thanks to Josh Redlich for facilitating this fun!

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38. Cybils Poetry Valentines!

The Cybils Awards winners will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 14, Valentine's Day. The Cybils awards (or Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards) "aim to recognize the children's and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal."

I was fortunate to participate in selecting the finalists last fall, along with my fellow poetry judges, Carol Wilcox (Carol’s Corner), Nancy Bo Flood (The Pirate Tree), Tricia Stohr-Hunt (The Miss Rumphius Effect), Irene Latham (Live Your Poem), and Margaret Simon (Reflections on the Teche).What fun to pore over all the nominated poetry from 2015 and whittle down to a handful of books. Our final choices?

The 2015 Poetry Finalists (you'll find complete annotations for these books here)

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton (Dial Books)

House Arrest by K.A. Holt (Chronicle Books)

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

The Popcorn Astronauts: And Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

Earlier this year, another group of judges read and discussed these books and chose ONE as the winner for 2015. I'll post that info on Sunday, as soon as it's public. You can also check at the Cybils site here for that info. This year, we were also able to consider novels in verse, so I'm very happy that this form was included this year. (And there's even talk of creating a separate category for novels in verse which I think would be wonderful!)

All 2015 Nominations for the Cybils Award for Poetry
Anyone can nominate a book for consideration and this year there were 47 poetry titles nominated (the most ever!). Here’s that complete list, fyi:

Novels in verse
1. 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
2. A Heart Like Ringo Starr by Linda Oatman High
3. Audacity by Melanie Crowder
4. Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose
5. Dating Down by Stefanie Lyons
6. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle
7. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
8. House Arrest by K.A. Holt
9. My Seneca Village by Marilyn Nelson
10. Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott
11. Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen
12. Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen
13. The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl & Random Boy by Marie Jaskulka

1. A Great Big Cuddle: Poems for the Very Young by Michael Rosen
2. A Spectacular Selection of Sea Critters: Concrete Poems by Betsy Franco
3. After the Bell Rings: Poems About After-School Time by Carol Diggory Shields
4. An Ambush of Tigers: Collective Nouns by Betsy R. Rosenthal
5. Bigfoot is Missing! by J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt
6. Changes: A Child's First Poetry Collection by Charlotte Zolotow
7. Double Happiness by Nancy Tupper Ling
8. Feeding the Flying Fanellis: And Other Poems from a Circus Chef by Kate Hosford
9. Flutter and Hum / Aleteo y Zumbido: Animal Poems by Julie Paschkis
10. Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons by Margaret Wise Brown
11. Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems by Calef Brown
12. Orangutanka: A Story in Poems by Margarita Engle
13. Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes
14. Presidential Misadventures: Poems That Poke by Bob Raczka
15. Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion
16. Sail Away by Langston Hughes
17. Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem by Jorge Argueta
18. Sing a Season Song by Jane Yolen
19. Sleepy Snoozy Cozy Coozy by Judy Young
20. Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel
21. The Maine Coon's Haiku: And Other Poems for Cat Lovers by Michael J. Rosen
22. The Popcorn Astronauts by Deborah Ruddell
23. The Sky Painter by Margarita Engle
24. Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman
25. Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale by Lee Wardlaw

1. A Pirate's Mother Goose by Nancy I. Sanders
2. Amazing Places edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
3. Beastly Verse illustrated by JooHee Yoon
4. Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte
5. Jumping Off Library Shelves edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
6. Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes by Henry, Josh, and Harrison Herz
7. National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry: More than 200 Poems With Photographs That Float, Zoom, and Bloom! edited by J. Patrick Lewis
8. Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes edited by Elizabeth Hammill
9. The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects edited by Paul B. Janeczko

Congratulations to all the poets, illustrators, editors, and publishers who produced these wonderful works of poetry!

ALL Cybils Award Winners for Poetry (2006-2015)
Here are ALL the poetry winners (including an update with the 2015 winner):

2015 Flutter and Hum / Aleteo y Zumbido: Animal Poems / Poemas de Animales by Julie Paschkis (Henry Holt)

2014 Voices from the March on Washington by J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press)

2013 Forest Has a Song: Poems by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (Clarion Books)

2012 BookSpeak!: Poems About Books by Laura Purdie Salas (Clarion Books)

2011 Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto by Paul B. Janeczko (Candlewick Press)

2010 Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer (Penguin Young Readers)

2009 Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

2008 Honeybee by Naomi Shihab Nye (HarperCollins) 

2007 This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman (Houghton Mifflin)

2006 Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman (Houghton Mifflin)

Ten years of Cybils! Woohoo!

And just for you for Valentine's Day, you'll find my previous post about "love" poetry for kids here.

Now head on over to Kimberley's place for the Poetry Friday gathering at Written Reflections.

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39. Celebrating Black History Month with Poetry

February-- Black History Month-- is a great opportunity to showcase all the wonderful poetry created by African American poets who write for young people and there are so many great choices! Of course, we include this poetry in our programs, lessons, and special celebrations all year long, but this is a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in these great writers. 

First, I want to give a shout-out to Curious City for featuring 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr. with audio versions of each excerpt free and accessible to all! Here's the link. Each poem is read by a range of professional narrators, complete with music and sound effects. Just listen to the first one and you'll be hooked! 

Poem Postcard

I featured a "theme" poem for Black History Month by Charles Waters from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations earlier. You'll find the poem postcard on Pinterest here

List of African American Poetry for Young People
There are so many wonderful African American poets writing for young people-- and who have been writing for years. In my book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists, I provide a list to get you started. Here it is updated a bit and as usual I welcome any suggestions for additions.

  1. Adedjouma, D. Ed.. 1996. The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children. New York: Lee & Low.
  2. Adoff, Arnold, comp. 1974. My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry. New York: Dutton. Reprinted, 1994.
  3. Adoff, Arnold. 2010. Roots and Blues, A Celebration. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  4. Adoff, Jaime. 2005. Jimi & Me. New York: Hyperion.
  5. Adoff, Jaime. 2008. The Death of Jayson Porter. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion. 
  6. Alexander, Elizabeth and Nelson, Marilyn. 2007.  Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.
  7. Alexander, Kwame. 2014. The Crossover.Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  8. Alexander, Kwame. 2016. Booked. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  9. Angelou, Maya. 1993. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. New York: Steward, Tabori, & Chang.
  10. Brooks, Gwendolyn. 1956/1984. Bronzeville Boys and Girls. New York: HarperCollins.
  11. Bryan, Ashley. 1997. Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry. New York: Atheneum.
  12. Bryan, Ashley. 2014. Ashley Bryan's Puppets: Making Something from Everything. New York: Atheneum.
  13. Clinton, Catherine. Ed. 1998. I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  14. Crisler, Curtis. 2007. Tough Boy Sonatas. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
  15. Dunbar, Paul Laurence. Reissued, 1999. Jump Back Honey. New York: Hyperion.
  16. Feelings. Tom. 1993. Soul Looks Back in Wonder. New York: Dial.
  17. Giovanni, Nikki. 1994. Knoxville, Tennessee. New York: Scholastic.
  18. Giovanni, Nikki. 1996. The Sun Is So Quiet. New York: Henry Holt.
  19. Giovanni, Nikki. 1997. It’s Raining Laughter. New York: Dial.
  20. Giovanni, Nikki. Coll. 2008. Hip Hop Speaks to Children. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
  21. Greenfield, Eloise. 2004. In the Land of Words. New York: HarperCollins. 
  22. Greenfield, Eloise. 2006. The Friendly Four. Ill. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: HarperCollins.
  23. Greenfield, Eloise. 2008. Brothers and Sisters: Family Poems. New York: Amistad/HarperCollins.
  24. Greenfield, Eloise. 2011. The Great Migration: Journey to the North. Ill. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Amistad/HarperCollins. 
  25. Grimes, Nikki. 1994. Meet Danitra Brown. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  26. Grimes, Nikki. 1996. Come Sunday. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans.
  27. Grimes, Nikki. 1997. It’s Raining Laughter: Poems. New York: Dial.
  28. Grimes, Nikki. 1998. A Dime a Dozen. New York: Dial.
  29. Grimes, Nikki. 1998. Jazmin’s Notebook. New York: Dial.
  30. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. At Break of Day. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman.
  31. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. At Jerusalem’s gate. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman.
  32. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. Hopscotch Love: A Family Treasury of Love Poems. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  33. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. My Man Blue: Poems. New York: Dial.
  34. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Shoe Magic. New York: Orchard.
  35. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Is It Far to Zanzibar: Poems about Tanzania. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  36. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Stepping out with Grandma Mac. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  37. Grimes, Nikki. 2001. A Pocketful of Poems. New York: Clarion.
  38. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Bronx Masquerade. New York: Dial.
  39. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Danitra Brown Leaves Town. New York: HarperCollins.
  40. Grimes, Nikki. 2004. What is Goodbye? New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion.
  41. Grimes, Nikki. 2004. Tai Chi morning: Snapshots of China. Chicago: Cricket Books.
  42. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Danitra Brown, Class Clown. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard.
  43. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Dark Sons. New York: Hyperion.
  44. Grimes, Nikki. 2006. Thanks a Million. New York: Amistad.
  45. Grimes, Nikki. 2007. When Gorilla Goes Walking. New York: Orchard.
  46. Grimes, Nikki. 2011. Planet Middle School. New York: Bloomsbury.
  47. Grimes, Nikki. 2013. Words with Wings.Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  48. Grimes, Nikki. 2015. Poems in the Attic. Ill. by Elizabeth Zunon. New York: Lee & Low. 
  49. Grimes, Nikki. 2016. Garvey’s Choice. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  50. Gunning, Monica. 2004. A Shelter In Our Car. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  51. Gunning, Monica. 2004. America, My New Home. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  52. Hudson, Wade. Ed. 1993. Pass It On:  African American Poetry for Children.  New York: Scholastic. 
  53. Hughes, Langston. (75th anniversary edition) 2007. The Dream Keeper (and seven additional poems). New York: Knopf.
  54. Hughes, Langston. 2012. I, Too, Am America. Ill. by Bryan Collier. Simon & Schuster.
  55. Hughes, Langston. 2009. My People. Ill. by Charles R Smith Jr. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  56. Hughes, Langston. 2009. The Negro Speaks of Rivers. Ill. by E. B. Lewis. New York: Disney-Hyperion.
  57. Iyengar, Malathi Michelle. 2009. Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown. Ill. by Jamel Akib. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  58. Johnson, Angela. 1998. The Other Side: Shorter Poems. New York: Orchard.
  59. Johnson, James Weldon. 1995. Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing. New York: Scholastic.
  60. McKissack, Patricia. 2011. Never Forgotten. Ill. by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Schwartz & Wade.
  61. McKissack, Patricia. 2008. Stitchin’ and Pullin’; A Gee’s Bend Quilt. Illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera. New York: Random House.
  62. Myers, Walter Dean. 1993. Brown Angels:  An Album of Pictures and Verse. New York: HarperCollins.  
  63. Myers, Walter Dean. 1995. Glorious Angels:  A Celebration of Children. New York: HarperCollins.  
  64. Myers, Walter Dean. 1997. Harlem: A Poem. New York: Scholastic.
  65. Myers, Walter Dean. 1998. Angel to Angel. New York: HarperCollins.
  66. Myers, Walter Dean. 2003. Blues Journey. New York: Holiday House.
  67. Myers, Walter Dean. 2004. Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices. New York: Holiday House.
  68. Myers, Walter Dean. 2006. Jazz. Ill. by Christopher Myers. New York: Holiday House.
  69. Myers, Walter Dean. 2009. Amiri and Odette: A Love Story. Ill. by Javaka Steptoe. New York: Scholastic.
  70. Myers, Walter Dean. 2011. We are America; A Tribute from the Heart. Ill. by Christopher Myers. HarperCollins.
  71. Nelson, Marilyn. 2001. Carver: A Life in Poems. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  72. Nelson, Marilyn. 2004. Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  73. Nelson, Marilyn. 2005. A Wreath for Emmett Till.Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  74. Nelson, Marilyn. 2008. The Freedom Business. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  75. Nelson, Marilyn. 2009. Sweethearts of Rhythm; The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World. Ill. by Jerry Pinkney. NY: Dial.
  76. Nelson, Marilyn. 1997. The Fields Of Praise: New and Selected Poems. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
  77. Nelson, Marilyn. 2015. My Seneca Village. Namelos.
  78. Nelson, Marilyn. 2014. How I Discovered Poetry. New York: Dial.
  79. Nelson, Marilyn. 2016. American Ace. Dial Books. 
  80. Neri, G. 2010. Yummy; The Last Days of a Southside Shorty. Ill. by Randy DuBurke. New York: Lee and Low.
  81. Neri, G. and Watson, Jesse Joshua. 2007. Chess Rumble. New York, NY: Lee & Low.
  82. Neri, Greg. 2014. Hello, I'm Johnny Cash. Ill. by A. G. Ford. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  83. Newsome, Effie Lee. 1999. Wonders: The Best Children’s Poems by Effie Lee Newsome. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills.
  84. Okutoro, L. O. 1999. Quiet Storm: Voices from Young Black Poets. New York: Hyperion.
  85. Pinkney, Andrea Davis. The Red Pencil.Ill. by Shane W. Evans. New York: Little, Brown.

  86. Shakur, Tupac. 1999. A Rose That Grew from Concrete. New York: Pocket Books.
  87. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2002. Perfect Harmony: A Musical Journey with the Boys Choir of Harlem. New York: Hyperion/Jump at the Sun.
  88. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2003. Hoop Queens. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  89. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2003. I am America. New York: Scholastic. 
  90. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2004. Hoop Kings. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  91. Smith, Charles R. Jr. Jr. 2007. Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  92. Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2010. Black Jack; The Ballad of Jack Johnson. Roaring Brook.
  93. Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2012. Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934. Ill. by Frank Morrison. Atheneum.
  94. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World. Ill. by Shane W. Evans. New York: Macmillan.
  95. Smith, Hope Anita. 2003. The Way a Door Closes. New York: Henry Holt.
  96. Smith, Hope Anita. 2008. Keeping the Night Watch. New York: Henry Holt.
  97. Smith, Hope Anita. 2009. Mother; Poems. New York: Henry Holt. 
  98. Smith, Jr., Charles R. 2004. Diamond Life: Baseball Sights, Sounds, and Swings. New York: Orchard.
  99. Steptoe, Javaka. Ed. 1997. In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers. New York: Lee & Low.
  100. Strickland, Dorothy S. and Michael R. Strickland. Eds. 1994. Families: Poems Celebrating the African-American Experience. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
  101. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 1993. Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea: Poems. New York:  HarperCollins.
  102. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 1995. Gingerbread Days. New York: HarperCollins.
  103. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2000. Hush Songs: African American Lullabies. New York: Hyperion. 
  104. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2001. A Mother’s Heart, A Daughter’s Love: Poems for Us to Share. New York: HarperCollins. 
  105. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2002. Crowning Glory. New York: HarperCollins. 
  106. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2007. Shouting! New York: Hyperion.
  107. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2008. The Blacker the Berry. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Amistad.
  108. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2000. The Sound that Jazz Makes. New York: Walker.
  109. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2001. Sidewalk Chalk; Poems of the City. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press. 
  110. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2002. Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People. New York: Philomel. 
  111. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2006. Dear Mr. Rosenwald. Ill. by R. Gregory Christie. New York: Scholastic. 
  112. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2007. Birmingham, 1963. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  113. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2008. Becoming Billie Holiday. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  114. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2008. I, Matthew Henson: Polar Explorer. Ill. by Eric Velasquez.
  115. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2014. Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America. Ill. by Jamey Christoph. Chicago: Albert Whitman.
  116. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2014. Sugar Hill: Harlem's Historic Neighborhood. Ill. by R. Gregory Christie. Chicago: Whitman.
  117. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2015. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  118. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2016. You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen. Simon & Schuster.
  119. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2003. Locomotion. New York: Putnam.
  120. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2014. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin.

FYI: I have similar lists of poetry in The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists, including:
*Asian American Poetry for Young People
*Hispanic/Latino/Latina Poetry for Young People
*Native American Poetry For Young People
*International Poetry for Young People
*Bilingual Poetry for Young People
and many more...

And here is a list of previous blog posts that feature poetry for young people by African American writers:
1. For my post, "Happy birthday, Maya Angelou," click here and for a tribute to her poetry for young people, click here.
2. For two posts on The Great Migration by Eloise Greenfield, click here and here.
3. For my post on Roots and Blues by Arnold Adoff, click here.
4. For my post on Shouting! by Joyce Carol Thomas, click here
5. For my post on Rosa Parks Day, click here.
6. For my post on I Am the Darker Brother by Arnold Adoff, click here.
7. For my post on Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate, click here
8. For my post on Marilyn Nelson's contribution to Poetry Tag, click here.

Now head on over to Tricia's place, The Miss Rumphius Effect, for more Poetry Friday fellowship. See you there!

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40. Ready for Spring? Celebrating Groundhog Day

I can't believe January is almost over, can you? Now that I've gathered my list of forthcoming poetry for young people this year, I'm working on getting my hands on the actual BOOKS! Hope to post more about them, the poets, and poetry news soon. Meanwhile, I thought it might be fun to stop and celebrate the upcoming Groundhog Day (I love that Bill Murray movie). So, here we go. The lovely, talented Jane Yolen wrote a poem specifically for Groundhog Day especially for our Poetry Friday for Celebrations.

And here are the Take 5 activities from the Celebrations anthology for sharing Jane's Groundhog Day poem.

You'll also find these two "poem postcards" at Pinterest here, along with hundreds of other poems in digital postcard form to share with young people.

Now I'm guessing that winter will be hanging around a bit longer, although our temps in Texas keep going up and down-- mostly up. But, if you're ready to think about spring, here's a list of poetry books all about spring (from my Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists).

Poetry Books about Spring
People often think poetry is all about springtime and daffodils and tulips—and not in a good way—but poetry can be about so many different topics. Of course poetry can also be about springtime and related topics, as the following book titles demonstrate. 

Adoff, Arnold. 1991. In for Winter, Out for Spring. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
Alarcón, Francisco X. 1997. Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems/Jitomates Risuenos y Otros Poemas de Primavera. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
Blackaby, Susan. 2010. Nest, Nook & Cranny. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. 
Booth, David. 1990. Voices on the Wind:  Poems for All Seasons. New York: Morrow.
Brenner, Barbara. Ed. 1994. The Earth is Painted Green:  A Garden of Poems about Our Planet. New York: Scholastic.
Bruchac, Joseph. 1992.  Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back: A Native American Year of Moons. New York: Philomel Books.
Bruchac, Joseph. 1995. The Earth under Sky Bear's Feet: Native American Poems of the Land. New York: Philomel Books.
Esbensen, Barbara Juster. 1984. Cold Stars and Fireflies:  Poems of the Four Seasons. New York: Crowell. 
Fletcher, Ralph J. 1997. Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in Early Spring. New York: Atheneum.
Florian, Douglas. 2006. Handsprings. New York: Greenwillow.
George, Kristine O’Connell. 2004. Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems. New York: Harcourt.
Harley, Avis. 2008. The Monarch’s Progress: Poems with Wings. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills/Wordsong.
Havill, Juanita. 2006. I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems About the Garden. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
Hopkins, Lee. Bennett. Ed. 2010. Sharing the Seasons. New York: Margaret McElderry.
Katz, Bobbi. Ed. 1992. Puddle-wonderful: Poems to Welcome Spring. New York: Random House.
Merriam, Eve. 1992. The Singing Green: New and Selected Poems for All Seasons. New York: HarperCollins.
Nicholls, Judith. 2003. The Sun in Me: Poems about the Planet. Somerville, MA:  Barefoot Books.
Oelschlager, Vanita. 2009. Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers of the Past. Ill. by Kristin Blackwood. Akron, OH: Vanitabooks.
Roemer, Heidi. 2009. Whose Nest is This? NorthWord.
Rosen, Michael J. 2009. The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems. Ill. by Stan Fellows. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
Schnur, Steven. 1999. Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic. New York: Clarion.
Shannon, George. Ed. 1996. Spring: A Haiku Story. New York: Greenwillow.
Sidman, Joyce. 2006. Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow. Ill. by Beth Krommes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 
Thomas, Patricia. 2008. Nature’s Paintbox: A Seasonal Gallery of Art and Verse. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press.
Wolf, Sallie. 2010. The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound. Charlesbridge.
Yolen, Jane. 2002. Ring of Earth: A Child’s Book of Seasons. San Diego: Harcourt. 
Yolen, Jane. 2009. A Mirror to Nature. Ill. by Jason Stemple. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press. 
Zolotow, Charlotte. 2002. Seasons; A Book of Poems. New York: HarperCollins. 

NBGS List 2016
We're also so pleased to announce that The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations was chosen for the 2016 list of Notable Books for a Global Society by the International Literacy Association! In fact, there were several books of poetry featured on their 2016 list, including: Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford, and Audacity by Melanie Crowder. For the complete list, click here.

***Now head on over to Reading to the Core where Catherine is hosting Poetry Friday.

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41. Celebrating Multicultural Children's Book Day

It's time to celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day. This is a celebration of diversity in literature for young people launched by children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom. You can find tons of links to many multicultural blog posts at their blogs too. At Pomelo Books, Janet (Wong) and I are so pleased to be sponsors of this great celebration. In fact, we're so pleased that diversity has been a hallmark of each of our Poetry Friday anthologies. We've featured diverse poets, diverse themes and topics, and even bilingual poetry in Spanish/English. 

This week, Janet is presenting along with poets Julie Larios, Charles Waters, and Carmen T. Bernier-Grand at Dearborn Park Elementary School in Seattle, a Title I school that educates children who are Asian American, African American, and Latino. Children even learn Mandarin or Spanish starting in kindergarten! 

I'm featuring poems by each of these lovely peeps today to celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day (officially January 27). Join the Twitter Party on Jan. 27 at 8pm with #ReadYourWorld. There will be great conversation and lots of giveaways too! 

Meanwhile, here are lovely gems by Charles Waters, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Julie Larios and Janet Wong. Enjoy!

Have you ever heard Charles Waters present? He's a hoot, a ham, and a force! This poem by him is from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations and is perfect for launching a celebration of Black History Month in February-- plus he has many other poems celebrating African Americans to use any time of the year! 

Are you familiar with the work of Carmen T. Bernier-Grand? I just love her poem biographies. This featured poem below is a bilingual (Spanish/English) poem from our science anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, as well as the student edition, The Poetry of Science. I just love the Spanish title "Compu-nerdo," don't you?

Julie Larios is the lovely lady behind the poetry of Yellow Elephant and Imaginary Menagerie, among others. Plus her blog, The Drift Record, is not-to-be-missed. Her lyrical poem, "Names" (below) from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School makes my mouth water!

Finally, you know how much I love Janet (Wong), her poetry, and her endless advocacy for diversity AND poetry. Her poem below, "Grandfather's Chopsticks" is from our first book together, The Poetry Friday Anthology K-5. 

Remember to check out all the resources at Multicultural Children's Book Day and join the Twitter gathering, too. It's so great to see diversity celebrated so widely by so many. Don't miss the party!

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42. Sneak Peek list for 2016

It's time again to post my annual "sneak peek" list of all the poetry for young people that will be published in the coming year (that I know about, thus far). This includes poetry collections,  anthologies and novels in verse. I talked with publishers at the ALA Midwinter conference, attended previews, combed publisher websites, looked for forthcoming titles at Books in Print, and made notes based on PW Children's Bookshelf and other venues, and this is what I know so far. If you know about other poetry for young readers set to be published this year (or have changes to suggest about these titles below), please let me know (in the comments). I'll be updating this list all year long, so it becomes a resource as you look for the latest poetry books for young people. There's a quick link to this post in the menu on the right-hand side of this blog, too. As always, I'm so excited to find, get, and read all of these books! Congrats poets and yay for poetry readers!
  1. Alarcón, Francisco X. 2016. Family Poems/ Poemas familiares. Ill. by Maya Christina Gonzalez. Lee & Low. 
  2. Alexander, Kwame. 2016. Booked. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  3. Atkins, Jeannine. 2016. Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science. Atheneum/Simon & Schuster.
  4. Bint Mahmood, Ayesha. 2016. Thank You O Allah! Kube Publishing.
  5. Brown, Skila. 2016. To Stay Alive. Candlewick.
  6. Burg, Ann. 2016. Unbound. Scholastic.
  7. Caswell, Deanna. 2016. Guess Who Haiku. Abrams.
  8. Cleary, Brian P. 2016. I Saw an Invisible Lion Today: Quatrains. Lerner/Millbrook.
  9. Dolby, Karen. 2016. Oranges and Lemons: Rhymes from Past Times. Michael O’Mara Books.
  10. Donaldson, Julia. 2016. Songbook Treasury. Ill. by Axel Scheffler. Pan Macmillan. 
  11. Donwerth-Chikamatsu, Annie. 2016. Somewhere Among. Simon & Schuster.
  12. Elya, Susan Middleton. 2016. ¡Celebración! Ill. by Ana Aranda. 
  13. Elya, Susan Middleton. 2016. La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Los Niños. Ill. by Juana Martinez-Neal. Penguin Random House/Putnam. 
  14. Engle, Margarita. 2016. Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words. Atheneum.
  15. Engle, Margarita. 2016. Morning Star Horse/ El Caballo Lucero. Translated by Alexis Romay. HBE Publishers (available in English bilingual [Spanish/English] editions)
  16. Fogliano, Julie. 2016. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons. Ill. by Julie Morstad. Macmillan/Roaring Brook/Porter.
  17. Frost, Helen. 2016. Among a Thousand Fireflies. Ill. by Rick Lieder. Candlewick.
  18. Frost, Helen. 2016. Applesauce Weather. Ill. by Amy June Bates. Candlewick.
  19. Grimes, Nikki. 2016. Garvey’s Choice. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  20. Harrington, Janice L. 2016. Catching a Storyfish. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  21. Harrison, David L. 2016. Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: Poems About Creatures that Hide. Ill. by Giles Laroche. Charlesbridge.
  22. Hepperman, Christine. 2016. Ask Me How I Got Here. HarperCollins.
  23. Herrington, Janice. 2016. Catching a Storyfish. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  24. Koyczan, Shane. 2016. To This Day. Annick Press.
  25. Latham, Irene. 2016. Fresh Delicious: Poems from the Farmers' Market. Ill. by Mique Moriuchi. Highlights/Wordsong.
  26. Latham, Irene. 2016. When the Sun Shines on Antarctica: And Other Poems About the Frozen Continent. Ill. by Anna Wadham. Millbrook Press. 
  27. Lea, Synne. 2016. Night Guard. Ill. by Stian Hole. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. 
  28. Lewis, Jan. 2016. My Mother Goose Collection: Playtime Rhymes. Anness Publishing.
  29. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2016. Kooky Crumbs: Poems in Praise of Dizzy Days. Ill. by Mary Uhles. Kane-Miller. 
  30. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2016. The Navajo Code Talkers. Ill. by Gary Kelley. Creative Editions. 
  31. Lin, Grace and McKneally, Ranida T. 2016. Our Food. Ill. by Grace Zong. Charlesbridge.
  32. Luján, Jorge. 2016. Trunk to Trunklet. Ill. by Mandana Sadat. Brooklyn, NY: Enchanted Lion Books. 
  33. Lowitz, Leza. 2016. Up From the Sea. Crown/Random House.
  34. Magliaro, Elaine. 2016. Things to Do. Chronicle.
  35. Marks, Alan. Ed. 2016. The People of the Town: Nursery Rhyme Friends for You and Me. Charlesbridge.
  36. McNally, Janet. 2016. Girls in the Moon. HarperTeen.
  37. Moser, Lisa. 2016. Stories from Bug Garden. Candlewick.
  38. Nelson, Marilyn. 2016. American Ace. Dial Books. 
  39. Nesbitt, Kenn. Ed. 2016. One Minute Till Bedtime. Little Brown.
  40. Norris, Charles M. Ed. 2016. Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains. Ill. by Minnie Adkins. University Press of Kentucky.
  41. Orgill, Roxane. 2016. Jazz Day. Ill. by Francis Vallejo. Candlewick.
  42. Powell, Patricia Hruby. 2016. Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case. Ill. by Shadra Strickland. Chronicle
  43. Raczka, Bob. 2016. Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems. Roaring Brook Press. 
  44. Redgate, Riley. 2016. Seven Ways We Lie. Amulet/Abrams.
  45. Shovan, Laura. 2016. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Random House.
  46. Singer, Marilyn. 2016. Echo, Echo: Reverso Poems about Greek Myths. Ill. by Josée Masse. Dial.
  47. Singer, Marilyn. 2016. Miss Muffet, or What Came After? Ill. by David Litchfield. Clarion.
  48. Snively, Susan. 2016. Poetry for Kids: Emily Dickinson. Ill. by Christine Davenier. MoonDancePress. (Quarto)
  49. Steig, Jeanne and Steig, William. 2016. Divine Comedies: The Old Testament Made Easy and a Gift from Zeus. Simon & Schuster.
  50. Steig, Jeanne and Steig, William. 2016. Consider the Lemming (reissue). Simon & Schuster.
  51. Steig, Jeanne and Steig, William. 2016. Alpha Beta Chowder (reissue). Simon & Schuster.
  52. Stoop, Naoko. 2016. Sing with Me! Action Songs Every Child Should Know. Henry Holt.
  53. Stroud, Bettye. 2016. The World’s Wide Open. Ill. by Pat Cummings. Simon & Schuster.
  54. Thompson, Holly. 2016. Falling Into the Dragon’s Mouth. New York: Henry Holt.
  55. Trillin, Calvin. 2016. No Fair! No Fair! And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood. Ill. by Roz Chast. Scholastic/Orchard. 
  56. Viorst, Judith. 2016. What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem. Ill. by Lee White. Simon & Schuster.
  57. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2016. You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen. Simon & Schuster.
  58. Withrow, Steven and Stevens, Roger. 2016 It's Not My Fault. Bloomsbury UK/A&C Black.
  59. Yolen, Jane. 2016. The Alligator’s Smile and Other Poems. Lerner.
  60. Yolen, Jane and Dotlich, Rebecca Kai. 2016. Grumbles from the Town: Mother Goose Voices with a Twist. Ill. by Angela Matteson. Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
(P.S. Within minutes I already made revisions, thanks to Laura Shovan's post at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes's blog, Today's Little Ditty!) BTW, this list includes books that have SOME poetry, but may not be entirely poetry. And I'll keep updating this list as I hear of new titles to add.

Rhyming/Poem Picture Books
Since posting my original list, I've discovered that some of these titles are rhyming picture books-- also lovely-- but I'm trying to focus specifically on poetry titles (including novels in verse). So, I'm starting a separate list below of poets' rhyming picture books. If someone else is already keeping such a list, please let me know and I can direct people there.
  1. Sidman, Joyce. 2016. Before Morning. Ill. by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. Singer, Marilyn. 2016. What's an Apple? Ill. by Greg Pizzoli. Abrams.
  3. Singer, Marilyn. 2016. What's a Banana? Ill. by Greg Pizzoli. Abrams.
  4. Swinburne, Stephen. 2016. Safe in a Storm. Ill. by Jennifer A. Bell. Scholastic.
  5. VanDerwater, Amy. 2016. Every Day Birds. Ill. by Dylan Metrano. Orchard.
  6. Wing, Natasha. 2016. The Night Before the New Pet. Ill. by Amy Wummer. Penguin/Grosset & Dunlap.
  7. Wissinger, Tamera Will. 2016. There Was an Old Lady Who Gobbled a Skink. Ill. by Ana Bermejo. Sky Pony Press.
  8. Yolen, Jane. 2016. How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends? Ill. by Mark Teague. Scholastic.
  9. Yolen, Jane. 2016. On Bird Hill. Ill. by Bob Marstall. Cornell Lab Publishing Group.
  10. Yolen, Jane. 2016. What to Do with a Box. Ill. by Chris Shiban. Creative Editions.
Meanwhile, head over to Tara's blog, A Teaching Life, to see what else is going on this Poetry Friday!

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43. ALA Awards + Poetry

Just a week ago I was in Boston for the midwinter conference of the American Library Association. I was lucky enough to co-chair the Morris Seminar alongside the amazing Deb Taylor and we had a great day spent with a dozen leaders in our field engaging 32 participants (new-ish librarians) in talking about children's literature in deep, thoughtful ways. Of course, I started the day by sharing a poem with the group! Then on Monday, I attended the YMA (youth media awards) press conference where all the major ALA (ALSC, and YALSA) awards were announced. Such an exciting time for a book nerd like me! There were so many wonderful surprises among the awards, but I am always looking for any and all POETRY books that are getting recognized in this way. So, here's the round up of the poetry titles that received ALA awards this year.

Hurray for author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Ekua Holmes for Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, published by Candlewick Press. It received HEAPS of lovely recognition-- for the art and for the informative poetic content! It won:
  • Caldecott honor (for illustration)
  • Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award
  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award honor
There's a great blog post at A Rep Reading about the book here.

Congratulations to author and poet Margarita Engle and illustrator Rafael López who also garnered several awards for the poetic picture book, Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It won the Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.

Interestingly, it also was selected as a Picture Book Honor book for the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (APALA) because this story is based upon the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who challenged Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers.  

You can read more about this beautiful book at Latinos in Kid Lit here and at Rhapsody in Books here.

Margarita Engle's poem memoir, Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division also received dual recognitions. 
  • Pura Belpré (Author) Award
  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults honor book
Poet and author Holly Thompson interviewed Margarita Engle about Enchanted Air previously on my blog here:

Kudos to author and poet Marilyn Hilton for receiving the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (APALA) in the "Children’s" category for her novel in verse, Full Cicada Moon published by Dial Books/Penguin Random House.

You can find an interview with Marilyn Hilton over at The Hiding Spot here.

Finally, Jacqueline Woodson was chosen to deliver the 2017 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. The May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizes an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site. Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming. The author of more than two dozen books for young readers, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

Congratulations to each of these authors, poets, and illustrators for these wonderful books and worthy awards. These are some of MY favorite poetry books of the year, too and I'm so glad to see these poetry contributions receive additional recognition. You may also notice that each of these books also reflects the distinctive experiences and rich language that comes from diverse authors and stories. In addition, these works won "multicultural" awards as well as awards for art and text given across the spectrum. I've said it before and I'll say it again (over and over), some of the best poetry being published for young people today reflects the beautiful diversity of our nation and the awards that target diverse literature are often the first ones to recognize poetry specifically. That's also something to celebrate! 

Now head on over to Keri Recommends for more poetry goodness on this Poetry Friday!

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44. Celebrating Day of the Dead

I love Halloween! I love making costumes and trick or treaters and candy and skeletons and pumpkins! Living in Texas, I also enjoyed discovering the tradition of the Day of the Dead-- a time to remember those we love who are no longer with us (thinking of you, Dad, Oma, Opa, Julia, Izell, Monte, Lettie). So, I was happy that we featured a poem about the Day of the Dead by our very own Texas author, René Saldaña, Jr., in this year's Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015). On top of that, my talented collaborator, Janet Wong, tried her hand at making a poem video for this poem which you can view by clicking HERE.

Here is the poem in English AND Spanish along with the Take 5 activities to guide you in sharing this poem. Enjoy!

Now head on over to Check it Out where Jone is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering here.

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45. Book Links: Playing Tag with Science Poets

I just got my copy of the November issue of Book Links and I was so tickled to see that my usual poetry column was a featured article this time! Woo hoo! Thanks to the 15 poets who graciously collaborated with me to share favorite science poetry books. The title is Playing Tag with Science Poets" and these poets participated: Joyce Sidman, J. Patrick Lewis, Margarita Engle, Leslie Bulion, Jane Yolen, Marilyn Singer, Betsy Franco, Douglas Florian, Carole Gerber, Avis Harley, David L. Harrison, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Michael J. Rosen.

Here's how the article begins:
<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]--> I’ve made the case for connecting science and poetry many times in the last few years, focusing on how scientists and poets both observe the world closely and describe their observations in distinctive ways. I’ve pointed out the long poetry tradition of capturing the natural world through lyrical language. So this time I’m turning to the poets themselves. I asked 15 poets who write science-themed poetry to recommend one of their favorite recent collections of science-themed poetry by another poet. And none of them knew who was participating and which book others were choosing, so it was fun to see the tag team connections that emerged.

Poetry and science may seem at first glance to be strange companions, but they offer interesting connections for children who view all the world with wonder. They need both information and inspiration to understand what they see, hear, touch, and learn. As the great novelist Victor Hugo observed, “science is a ladder... poetry is a winged flight.” Surely we can provide both to the children we reach.

And then the poets get rolling:

Avis Harley tags J. Patrick Lewis
Avis Harley explores the natural world through collections such as Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems; The Monarch’s Progress: Poems with Wings, and African Acrostics; A Word in Edgeways, among others and she explores the natural world with a knack for crafting poems in distinctive forms, some of which she has invented herself! Here, Avis Harley salutesThe National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis: “National Geographic’s Book of Animal Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis, is a superb collection of 200 classic and contemporary poems, each paired with a spectacular photograph illustrating the beauty, wonder, and strangeness of the animal world.  There is a section on the writing of such poems, plus valuable resources, and four indexes to guide you to a favorite animal.  Poems and photos are humorous, serious, poignant, reflective, full of surprises: a truly gorgeous addition to your poetry shelf."

J. Patrick Lewis tags Leslie Bulion
Former Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis has produced many cross-curricular collections of poetry including several science-centric works like the insect poems in Face Bug: Poems as well as serving as anthologist for the two collections cited by others here. J. Patrick Lewis applauds Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion: “If what you’re after is a salmagundi of delightful poetry pieces, look no further than Leslie Bulion’s tour de force, an inventive mix of riddles, Shakespeare, and various verse forms. Elegant riddles are evoked in a limerick, a ballad stanza, a triolet, a double dactyl and more. Playfully fashioned from shades of Shakespeare, each riddle is accompanied by an explanation of the body part as a helpful clue. And all the verse forms are deftly described in End Notes. Random Body Parts is sure to challenge anatomy buffs of all ages.”

Leslie Bulion tags Laura Purdie Salas
Leslie Bulion studied oceanography and her science background comes through her poetry, including At the Sea Floor Café; Odd Ocean Critter Poems and Hey There, Stink Bug!, as well as this year’s Random Body Parts.When asked for her recommendation, she chose Water Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas: “I love the way the brilliant imagery in Laura Purdie Salas’s Water Can Be… invites me to linger on every single page. For example, “Picture catcher” transports my mind to wonderful water reflections I’ve seen, and when I read “Woodchuck warmer,” I wonder about those woodchucks tucked snug under snow in winter. Laura uses accessible, developmentally appropriate language to explain the science concepts behind each lyrical, rhythmic phrase in the back matter--perfect for young science poets!”

and it goes on...
(As soon as I see it online, I'll post the link, but it's currently only available to Booklist subscribers.)

And I end with suggestions of activities to consider (along with CCSS connections). Here's that chunk:

1. Play science poetry tag! Gather a selection of science-themed poetry books and encourage children to browse through them, sharing poems spontaneously with one another. Then, choose one poem to begin. Read it aloud and talk about it together. Then find another poem to link to it based on some connection between the two poems: another poem by the same the poet, another poem on the same topic (animals, nature, planets, etc.), or another poem from the same area of science (biology, astronomy, etc.). Share that poem aloud and discuss and compare. If time allows, keep going by “tagging” another poem.

2. Start with science photos. There are so many excellent sources of images for science study, from those in print books, of course, to online sources such as National Geographic (e.g., Animals.NationalGeographic.com; Photography.NationalGeographic.com; Kids.NationalGeographic.com). Choose a subject that is of current relevance and interest (e.g., Mars, chimpanzees, bacteria) and peruse the available images (in print or online sources). Then, search through available poetry anthologies and see if you can find a poem to go with the image. It might be an explicit connection— a poem about the sun to go with an image of the sun—or it might be a more abstract connection, such as a poem about summer fun, day vs. night, or warmth and caring. Work together to create your own collaborative anthology of images and matching poems. 

3. Many of the science-themed poetry books mentioned here weave together poetry, prose, and art. Challenge children to work in trios to research a science topic of their choice. Then allow them to choose their role for the next step: who will write the explanatory prose paragraph? Who will write the poem? Who will create the accompanying illustration? Afterward, talk about each role and discuss which they find easiest or hardest and why. Invite them to challenge themselves by taking on one of the OTHER roles next time and talk about how each information source is valuable and unique: prose, poetry and art. 

Finally, the article also includes a comprehensive bibliography of science poetry books, too including all the books by these poets and "tagged" by them too. 

Science Poetry Scoop
And I have a science poetry project of my own (that includes many of these poets, of course) that I'm very excited about and will share more news about that on Dec. 1. Stay tuned! 

Meanwhile, join the Poetry Friday crew over at Write. Sketch. Repeat. hosted by Katya Czaja. See you there!

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46. Science + Poetry + Movement

I just presented a session at an area conference of the National Science Teachers Association in Philadelphia (along with Janet Wong) and what a great crowd we had! Plus, walking the exhibit hall I learned about Science Friday, a weekly radio program (now with podcasts and more) that's been around for 25 years. We talked with them about linking POETRY Friday with SCIENCE Friday! I'll keep you posted on how that develops. We also ran into "Ben Franklin" and shared a poem about him from one of our books-- that was a hoot. He seemed to genuinely enjoy that moment too. He even asked to have our picture taken with HIS camera! We talked about how poets are like scientists in their careful observations, focus on details, and sharing of their "findings!" And of course, we shared tons of poems (and Take 5 activities).  One of the most popular was this one (along with the Take 5 activities):

And of course we had to share this 13 second video of Jane Goodall herself making the chimp call!
Also this poem offers a perfect transition to NEXT week's presentation at the annual conference of the National Council of Teacher's of English. Next week, Janet and I shift gears at join forces with poets and authors Susan Marie Swanson (who wrote the "Jane Goodall Begins a Speech" poem above) and Laura Purdie Salas to talk about poetry and movement, "Into the Poem: Active Strategies for Engaging Kinesthetic Learning." More on that next week! Meanwhile, head on over to Wee Words for Wee Ones for the rest of the Poetry Friday fun and enjoy our closing slide from our presentation, "How is a Scientist Like a Poet: Connecting Literacy and Science."

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47. Thankful

Time again to pause and think about the many things we are grateful for in our lives-- like this online community of poetry lovers, for example. Thank YOU for continuing to support my little blog and the field of poetry for young people all around. What a privilege it is. But I always like to balance the serious with some silliness too. So, I hope you'll indulge my sharing this nutty Thanksgiving-themed poem from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (with thanks to Brod Bagert, too). The "artistic" interpretation, however, is mine (with thanks to Matt Groening).

I'll be sharing this poem this afternoon at my NCTE presentation (with Janet Wong, Laura Purdie Salas, and Susan Marie). If I had any cheerleading experience, I think it would be a hoot to choreograph this as a cheer with the staccato motions and gestures that cheerleaders use. But, I'm just going to rely on my "Take 5" activities from the Celebrations book:

Take 5
  1. Before reading the poem aloud, ask children to close their eyes and envision a Thanksgiving gathering and meal. Then read the poem aloud with enthusiasm.
  2. Read the poem aloud again and invite children to chime in on the second line of each three-line stanza (echoing you and the first line) and then on the final word, YOU!
  3. As a group, talk about favorite Thanksgiving foods and traditions.
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules (Albert Whitman, 2009) and discuss the many “right ways” to celebrate Thanksgiving.
  5. Connect this poem with “‘Break-Fast’ at Night” by Ibtisam Barakat (June, pages 180-181) and with selections from Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young by Nancy White Carlstrom (Aladdin, 2002) and Holiday Stew: A Kid’s Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems by Jenny Whitehead (Henry Holt, 2007).
If you're looking for more holiday poems for November and December, we have a wonderful assortment to share in classrooms, libraries, and at family gatherings. Here's a select list from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations:

And don't forget to check out the rest of the Poetry Friday fun over at Miss Rumphius where Tricia has a bit of Robert Frost to share!

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48. Launching the "remix" of science poetry for KIDS

Janet (Wong) and I are so excited to announce the launch of our latest venture! (Yes, that is Janet being excited!) It's The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for KIDS.
This new book features 248 poems by 78 poets, along with illustrations by Frank Ramspott and Bug Wang. It's arranged thematically by science topics such as what scientists do, the science fair, classroom science, kitchen science, matter, earth & sun, space & sky, water, weather, surviving disasters, land & soil, ecology & conservation, endangered & extinct, the human body, engineering, computers, math, and the future. 

This is the companion volume to The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for teachers published last year (2014) which includes "Take 5" activities for each poem. The new "remix" features ONLY THE POEMS and not the "Take 5" teaching activities. Plus, it offers 30 "bonus" poems not featured in the teacher's edition. Here's a sample double-page spread.

You can find more sample poems from the book at Pinterest here.

Below is the cover of the "Teacher Edition" of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for teachers (2014) which includes "Take 5" activities for each poem aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (as well as the CCSS and TEKS). 

And just for fun, did you notice that the robots on the cover of the new book look a tiny bit like Janet and me? 
And don't forget our "celebrations" anthology with perfect poems for many December holidays including a December birthday poem for people like me who have birthdays during this holiday time! 

Now, head over to Buffy's place for our Poetry Friday celebration! Buffy (Silverman) also happens to be one of the featured poets in our science poetry anthologies, too! Here's a list of all those fabulous science poets who contributed:
What an amazing group, right? 

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49. National Cocoa Day

Various sources claim that either December 12 or December 13 is National Cocoa Day. Here in Texas it's warm again (near 80 degrees!), so it's not exactly ideal cocoa drinking weather, but I am going for it anyway. I love hot cocoa, so I was happy to see this "holiday" exists and we thought it would be a fun one to include in our anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Read it now or save it for a chilly day!

And if you want to use the "Take 5" activities that accompany this poem in the book, here you go:
  1. As your poetry prop, hold a mug as if it were full of hot cocoa and read this National Cocoa Day poem aloud with enthusiasm.
  2. Share the poem again and invite children to chime in on the repeated phrase It’s cocoa, it’s cocoa while you read the rest of the poem aloud. Hold up your mug to cue them.
  3. Use details from the poem to work together and make a list of things that contain cocoa. Another resource is TheStoryofChocolate.com.
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart (Charlesbridge, 2013). Talk about where cocoa comes from and how the interdependence of rain forest plants and animals is essential to its growth.
  5. Connect with “On the Day of the Dead” by René Saldaña, Jr. (November, pages 292-293) and with selections from ¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico!: America's Sproutingsby Pat Mora (Lee & Low, 2007) and The Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell (McElderry, 2015).

Now check out the Poetry Friday fun over at A Teaching Life where Tara is hosting the party!

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50. A Christmas Poem

Can you believe that Christmas is next week? If you celebrate, do you decorate a Christmas tree? I love the tree tradition and I have several different ones in my house (including an aluminum tree with Star Wars ornaments!). But this poem by Joseph Bruchac from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations captures the simple beauty of a live tree. 

And if you'd like to use the Take 5 activities from the book that accompany this poem, here you go:
1. If possible, set the stage with the smell of a Christmas tree—with live branches, scented air freshener, or a pine-scented candle (if allowed). Then read the poem slowly with a pause after each stanza.
2. Read the poem aloud again and invite children to chime in on the repeated and crucial word "tree."
3. Work together to draw a picture or create a collage of a Christmas tree based on the details in this poem (green branches, colored balls, lights, star). Then read the poem aloud again together.  
4. Pair this poem with the picture book Christmas Tree! by Florence and Wendell Minor (HarperCollins, 2005) and identify all the different kinds of Christmas trees pictured in the illustrations.
5.  Match this poem with “Oh Summer Books” by Diana Murray (June, pages 162-163) because of the tune connection (“O Tannenbaum”), “Tree Day Celebration” by Ibtisam Barakat (April, pages 104-105), and poems from Winter Trees by Carole Gerber (Charlesbridge, 2008), or link to Christmas poems with Manger edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (Eerdmans, 2014).

This is just one of a dozen December holiday poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Of course we also have poems for Chanukah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve, too, among other special occasions this month. And of course we have even more poems for a dozen holidays in EVERY month of the year, January through December. Get your copy now and be ready for 2016!

Meanwhile, join the Poetry Friday fray over at Random Noodling where Diane is hosting the festivities! 

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